The Saskatchewan Growth Coalition (Coalition) is calling on the Government of Saskatchewan to take immediate action to address the growing competitiveness problems in Saskatchewan’s rural municipalities. The Coalition has identified two major problems that are severely limiting our ability to generate the investment needed to reach the ambitions in Saskatchewan’s Plan for Growth: inequitable municipal property taxes and a lack of financial transparency.
The province has been aware of these issues for years. In response to a 2019 StarPhoenix investigation, that found nearly half of municipalities failed to have websites, the province committed to implementing a system to increase municipal financial transparency (like those already in place in Alberta and Ontario) – but they have failed to act.
On average, in rural municipalities with resources, industry accounts for approximately 40 per cent of property assessments but pays 65 per cent of total property taxes. In addition to taxes, many RMs charge industry road, maintenance, and development fees and levies that far exceed the additional strain on municipal infrastructure caused by increased economic activity.
From 2014 – 2020 Saskatchewan rural municipalities increased taxes on industry by 16 per cent, while during that same period, capital investment in Saskatchewan’s mining, oil and natural gas industry decreased by nearly 60 per cent, and jobs in the sector fell by 29 per cent. Saskatchewan’s business community has been trying to work collaboratively with rural municipalities for years, but it is clear we need provincial leadership to address these growing issues if we want to keep Saskatchewan strong.
The time is now for government to create a competitive property tax system by addressing issues of transparency, accountability, and tax equity. This is a chance to grow industries, grow job opportunities, build resilient communities, and create opportunities for Saskatchewanians to build a life in the province.
For more information, contact:
Jay Averill | 403-267-1151 | firstname.lastname@example.org